Camelia Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns

One can never have too many wrap, or mock wrap dresses can they? I tested* the Camelia Jersey Dress (**affiliate link) as it offered something a little different. There are 6 pleats on the side seam along with an asymmetric hem on the front wrap.

DesignerStitch patterns often come with individual cup sizes which negates the need for an SBA or FBA. This pattern also comes with three sleeve lengths, 3/4, long or sleeveless. The back piece also has a centre seam which makes fitting the dress even easier along with the back waist darts and the bust darts.

I made the 3/4 sleeve using mustard flower printed double knit ponte (68% poly/28% rayon/4% spandex). Recommended fabrics are Jersey knit fabrics with approx weight of 210 – 250 gsm and with at least 50% stretch across and 25% stretch going down the fabric. Medium weight fabric that holds folded pleats well is IDEAL and I would definitely recommend that the guide is followed. My fabric didn’t end up having enough stretch for the upper body and shoulders, although the dress looks okay, it’s a bit tight to wear. It will probably be the dress when I have short stints not through the fault of the pattern but myself really.

I will mention care must be taken when doing those side pleats and ensure you baste well and that you mark those notches so that they line up correctly. Once that is done, construction of the dress is actually quite quick. My hemline is slightly longer than pictured in the pattern but that will also be dependent on the weight of the fabric. I just think of it as a dramatic feature!

It’s a great silhouette and flattering on all that tested.

**The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Advertisements

Clara Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns

Before I get into this pattern, I thought I would do a quick update on my stash shrinking which in fact has expanded instead this last month. February was good, I bought 5.7m and sewed 10.3m so happy with that BUT March was terrible. I bought 36.55m and only sewed 7.8m. Hoping to turn that around in April. Fingers crossed!!!!

Who doesn’t love a classic dress to fit all occasions? The Clara Dress (**affiliate link) by Designer Stitch Patterns is just that! I was part of the testing* process for this but taking photos was a difficult task on this one. I found life got in the way a bit.

Clara is elegant and classy with options for ankle length with high/low hem flounce, knee length and thigh length with a straight hem flounce and with either a cap or flutter sleeve or sleeveless. There is a centre back invisible zip closure and an all-in-one facing and either a v or round neckline. The advantage of many DesignerStitch Patterns is that they are offered in cup sizes B, C, D, DD (E) and AU/UK sizes 6-26. This PDF pattern also comes in a trimless version if you don’t like fiddling with patterns too much.

I chose a more casual fabric, premium cotton gingham 1/4 black/white (100% cotton) for my knee length, round neck version, making it sleeveless with a self tie belt. I figure I had more options to wear it this way with heels for a night out or sandals in the summer. I’m all about versatility in my wardrobe. Construction was easy and pattern pieces fit together faultlessly.

I did fussy cut all my pattern pieces so that they would line up at least horizontally and some didn’t when I sewed it together 😦 It’s okay though because the gingham pattern is quite small and I think I can get away with it. I made a pattern size 4 (AUS 12) with a B cup and no modifications to the pattern. The length hits me exactly where I like. For my belt I cut my fabric roughly 15cm wide and estimated the length so that it went around my waist once and I could tie a bow. I did have to add a hook and eye at the back neckline because for some reason I inserted my invisible zip in too low – that’s an easy fix though.

People often talk about tried and true patterns and I’m really happy with my dress and the fit of it that I think the pattern will get some hacking over time. I’m thinking peplum tops, more dresses, skirts, endless possibilities really.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

 

Sedona Shirt Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns

I’m on a bit of a shirt dress run at the moment. I have another test* to show you for the Sedona shirt dress by DesignerStitch patterns (**affiliate link), inspiration for me came from the Witchery clothing label but the newest post by DesignerStitch talks about where she got her inspiration from.

I am my own worst enemy when I’m out shopping for myself because I look at construction, finishes, if it’s lined, and generally tell myself I could make it myself/better, but that rarely eventuates, except in this case because Ann listened to my psychic prayers and drafted a pattern.

The Sedona Shirt Dress can quickly become a wardrobe essential. It is a straighter silhouette which also benefits from not being a fabric hog. The advantage of this pattern is that it also comes in 5 different lengths, Shirt, Tunic, Knee, Midi and Maxi and 3 different sleeve lengths – short, 3/4 and a traditional tailored shirt sleeve. Options include front patch pockets and self fabric belt.

My fabric was labelled as black Cavalier Gaberdine 150cm (polyester/viscose). I am convinced it is more an ink/navy colour though, especially in the photos. I made the calf length dress with 3/4 sleeves and all the bells and whistles, minus the in seam pockets. This pattern has a lot of details and can be daunting if you haven’t sewn a shirt dress before, thus labelled an intermediate pattern, but slowly and steadily it can be done.

My main word of advice is to label and transfer all markings as specified and as the front button placket is hidden, it requires precision to get the folds accurate. There is a 2 piece shirt collar and optional sleeve placket (dependent on which version you sew).

This is a labour intensive dress but thoroughly enjoyable and satisfying, plus the fit was good for me without any alterations. It has some shape but is loose, not sack-like though. I will mention one word of caution to read the instructions carefully because if you choose to make the version with the waist darts you will need to follow different cutting lines for the back piece.

I will tackle another version of the Sedona sometime this year as I am lacking a classic white shirt but would also love a chambray one.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Chelsea Cardigan by DesignerStitch Patterns

This story is a long one, so pour a cuppa and read on.

I am a long time tester and supporter of DesignerStitch Patterns and so when the call went out to test* the Chelsea Cardigan (** affiliate link), I jumped for joy as the timing was perfect. You see I went about drafting my own cardigan from this inspiration long cardi below, and while the result was good, it was never as good as the Chelsea.

I saw this olive maxi cascading cardigan in a store retailing for $119.00. I thought it was a bit pricey and as I walked past it a couple of times during the week I made mental notes about the design. After all it was my inspiration and I didn’t need a direct copycat version.

 

 

I bought myself some olive rayon double knit (63% viscose/ 32% nylon/5% spandex) and set about picking a pattern. I went with Itch To Stitch Lisbon Cardigan since I have made it before and it had the basic overall shape I was after. For the sleeves I added about 7 cm to the length and for the cardigan length I added 50 cm and at the front hem and an additional 12 cm to make my handkerchief hem. I also added some pockets using my DesignerStitch Eleni Top/Dress pocket, and placed them about 30 cm down from the underarm, which turned out too low. I also added a “collar” the length of the neckline which was about 58 cm long and 15 cm wide. I also made a belt – which means I cut a strip of fabric about 5 cm wide and the length of the pieces of fabric scrap I had left over and stitched them into the side seam.

All this to say I was happy with the outcome, but not as happy as I would have been had I the Chelsea Cardigan pattern at that time. As per usual, DesignerStitch patterns are flawless in both drafting and instructions. The size range is US/AUS 6-26 and comes in 3 lengths, high hip, mid thigh or high calf and calls for light to medium weight jersey knit fabrics with at least 50% 4 way stretch. I made a AUS 12, high calf using some Ottoman Ash stretch fabric (94% polyester/6 % spandex).

This is really a quick sew although there is some hand stitching of the collar. The fit is nice and roomy but still fitted enough to not be over sized.

I’m not sure what to do with my olive version above as the fit isn’t quite as comfortable. I’m thinking of taking it apart and resewing using the Chelsea Cardigan given I bought more of the olive rayon, otherwise I may just cut off the sleeves and give it a racer back style to wear as a layering piece. Either way I will be making an entirely new one, or two Chelsea’s all together. Decisions, decisions!

Get your Chelsea Cardigan while it is still on sale for a limited time for $8.00 US (reg $10), you won’t be disappointed.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Carmen Flounce Skirt by DesignerStitch Patterns

When I look at my hand-made wardrobe, there are a few designers whose clothes I seem to be attracted too and testing* for DesignerStitch patterns is always up there for me. This newly release skirt was a no-brainer for me. Classy, elegant, fun and flirty were all words that came to mind when I saw the line drawing for the Carmen Flounce Skirt**, mostly because fabric choice dictates the overall outcome of where and how to wear this skirt.

                                          

I chose to use duchess satin (100% polyester) for my skirt as I wanted and elegant skirt that would pair up well with a number of tops in my wardrobe. This skirt requires fabric with a considerable amount of drape to show off the lovely drafted flounce but with some body so they don’t flop or droop. The duchess satin is also medium-bodied so I didn’t require lining, it has a nice luster and best of all it is durable, wrinkle-resistant (to some degree), and machine washable.

As always, the pattern is really well drafted and instructions are great. DesignerStitch patterns feature all the sought after features to make sewing a quicker and successful experience. The beauty of the Carmen Flounce skirt is that it comes in a range of sizes, two different lengths with the choice of either a standard waistband or a high torso waistband and also offers the ability to be made in a stretch fabric. There is a centre back invisible zipper, not necessary to install with the knit version.

I made an AUS 12 in the longer length, with the high waistband and the optional tie. Everything aligns perfectly during construction although some patience is required to hem the flounce, which is surprisingly long. The flounce is actually drafted such that there is no need to gather any fabric, and for some reason, gathering is one of my least favourite sewing techniques.

I’m really happy with both the fit and the final look of my skirt. If you love wrap skirts but don’t like the potential for accidental exposure, this skirt is a mock wrap.

Other tester versions have been amazing and I am contemplating a more casual tencel denim version for spring. Stay tuned for that!!!

Although I paired my skirt with a RTW simple silhouette, the skirt is perfectly accompanied by the Eleni Top from DesignerStitch Patterns, and to make your life easier, you can purchase the Eleni Top at the same time (for a complete outfit)  and you save 50% on the Eleni Pattern. Use code “carmeneleni” at checkout, whilst the skirt itself is currently at an introductory price of only $6.00.

 

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Ilse Vest by DesignerStitch Patterns

I really only apply to test garments that I think will work for me and my style and occasionally I get it wrong. In this case I applied to test* the Ilse Vest by DesignerStitch Patterns ** (Affiliate link) as I had this vest on my Pinterest board for ages and wanted to recreate a similar look. Finding look-a-like fabric on the other hand was proving difficult.

ROMWE

I then shopped my stash and was going to use some brown herringbone fabric with faux leather binding, however I couldn’t find matching faux leather binding.

I thought about it and decided to try my luck at one more fabric store, otherwise I was on the hunt for some blankets. Which in itself is laughable as we are in the middle of summer.

By now I have tested lots of patterns from Ann and her testing process is quite streamline with great comraderi amongst the group and often minimal, if any pattern changes during testing. The pattern comes in a large range of sizes AUS 6-26 with separate cup sizes – B, C, D, DD(E) and printing with the layer option. There are really only 4 pattern pieces not including the belt. Ann’s experience in the drafting and fashion industry is evident by how patterns fit and also the thorough and clear instructions.

         

I eventually settled on this black and white plaid (polyester/acrylic). I didn’t realise until I was fussy cutting that it doesn’t actually have a pattern repeat so I tried my best to match the vertical and horizontal lines. The construction was extremely fast, especially as it’s not lined. In the end I found some faux leather look stretch fabric, the kind you would use to make leggings, to make my binding. Because of the stretch I didn’t bother cutting it on the bias. I think I cut it about 2 inches wide from memory. I wish I had used a walking foot to attach my binding as there is some twisting which I have tried my best to iron straight.

I also decided to make the included obi belt as my closure. I wish I had interfaced my belt however because of the stretch fabric it doesn’t keep it’s shape. For the ties I used black ribbon in the corresponding finished width of the ties because I didn’t want to tackle my black stretch fabric to make the ties.

I’m excited for when the cooler weather is upon us as I will have a great layering piece to wear.

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns

Eleni Top and Dress by DesignerStitch Patterns, Includes a Pregnancy Version!

Another DesignerStitch pattern test for both a top and dress. The Eleni (Aff link**) is a modern design that can be easily modified to suit your fashion and comfort specifications. It comes as a top, tunic, short dress or maxi with a number of sleeve variations and optional ruffle or straps and instructions for a modesty panel or to convert to a peasant style outfit. Plus a neck and waist tie. Value for money people!!!

I offered to test* this pattern knowing my baby bump may affect the way this top draped. I chose the top version with the flounce and straps. I chose to omit the sleeves altogether and just added bias binding around the armholes, but otherwise construction was as per the instructions. My fabric is some sort of paisley cotton, my fabric catalogue goes hazy at the start of my pregnancy!!

                                                                             

As a personal preference I also made the straps half the width of the recommended pattern piece. It still covers my bra straps perfectly. As is visible from the photos though, the baby bump raises the front hemline, I assure you it’s definitely straight. I didn’t take this into account when cutting because will more than likely wear this top post baby.

Additionally, I hadn’t realised until my photos were posted on Facebook in the testing group that I had worn this top incorrectly, ie it should be going over the arms, not under, so bare this in mind, yours will look different.

For version 2 I decided to make a maxi dress, again with the flounce and short sleeves. This is using the finalised pattern. I cheated and made this from knit fabric so it can actually stretch/grow with me for the last few months of pregnancy, but also hoping it would recover well post pregnancy and be comfortable for breastfeeding (without the straps). I sized down by one size as there is some ease with this pattern.

To the left is my inspiration. I wanted a basic black version but wanted to do some stash busting and so used this grey jersey knit instead, plus I had 4 metre of it. I  went with the waist tie with the thought that post pregnancy it would help with the waist definition. I again added the straps to this version but to half the width of the pattern piece. My chest needs all the support it can get so going strapless at this stage isn’t an option, although they can easily be removed at a later date if necessary. Here it’s shown with my bump at 38 weeks.

 

 

Coral Off Shoulder Ruffle Maternity Maxi

                                              

*The pattern was provided to me free of charge for testing but all opinions expressed are my own and I received a copy of the finalised pattern for taking part.

**This post contains affiliate links to DesignerStitch Patterns